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Wilhelmsen and thyssenkrupp target 3D printing for shipping

Signing a joint venture letter of intent today, Wilhelmsen’s marine products division and German industrial conglomerate thyssenkrupp said they are aiming to re-examine and optimise the production and delivery process of 3D printed spare parts for the unique demands of the maritime market. The two are now expected to launch a joint venture company in Singapore shortly.

Wilhelmsen has already built up a loyal following of customers for its additive printing deliveries since launching a new service 10 months ago. Clients include Berge Bulk, Carnival Maritime, Thome Ship Management, OSM Maritime Group and Executive Ship Management.

They are realising the benefits of having more resilience in their spare parts supply chain

“Based on current data, the maritime industry spends billions of dollars every year on spare parts; with 50% of these vessels are older than 15 years, availability of parts are limited. This makes fulfillment of orders for maritime spare parts costly and complicated, and in fact, the supply chain overheads involved may often far outstrip the cost of the part itself,” Wilhelmsen stated in a release today.

Moreover, traditional manufacturing processes such as machining and casting often involve long lead-times stretching into months.

“We are very excited to enter the next phase of our 3D printing journey, hand in hand with thyssenkrupp. With this joint venture we believe we will take the lead as the de-facto supplier of 3D printed maritime spare parts, continuing to bring the benefits of AM technology to shipping companies by reducing the cost of spare parts, lead times and environmental footprint”, said Hakon Ellekjaer, head of venture, 3D printing at Wilhelmsen.

“We are already seeing a very positive response from our maritime customers on the additive manufacturing adoption,” shared Abhinav Singhal, director of thyssenkrupp Innovations. “They are realising the benefits from faster lead times, reduced costs and having more resilience in their spare parts supply chain.”

In addition to the collaboration with thyssenkrupp, Wilhelmsen continues to work with additive manufacturing company Ivaldi Group on a number of 3D printing software applications.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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